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8 Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

Summer is a great time of year for seniors to get outdoors, travel, spend time with family, and enjoy themselves. The warm temperatures and bright sunshine can feel great for your mental and physical health after a long winter, so many older adults feel more motivated than ever to be active and outgoing during the summer. The summer months do have some risks for seniors, though, so it’s important for you or your aging loved one to take safety precautions. By making sure that you’re equipped to take on the warm weather, you can enjoy the summertime without worry.

Here Are Eight Summer Safety Tips for Seniors


1. Drink plenty of water.

It’s very easy to become dehydrated in hot weather, and seniors are especially vulnerable. By the time you feel thirsty, you’re already experiencing the effects of mild dehydration. To protect yourself and your health, you should drink water consistently throughout the day.
The recommended daily water intake can vary from person to person, so you should consult with your doctor if you’re not sure how much you should drink. The general rule is to consume eight glasses of water per day, but you may need more if you spend a lot of time outside in the summer. Additionally, you should reduce your consumption of alcohol and caffeine as both can dehydrate you.

2. Be mindful of extreme heat.

Warm temperatures and high humidity are more dangerous for seniors than they are for younger adults. If you’ve lived your whole life in the same area, you might feel like you can handle the heat with no problem. However, as you get older, you do need to take more precautions. Temperatures that were once tolerable could start to have an impact on your health.
You can stay safe in the summertime by checking the forecast before going outside or scheduling events. On days with particularly high temperatures, try to go out early in the morning or late in the evening so that you miss the worst of the heat.

3. Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are both serious medical issues that can be very dangerous for seniors. The following are some of the most common signs of heat-related illnesses:

  • Tiredness, weakness, or dizziness
  • Red and flushed skin
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

If you start to experience any of these symptoms, you should find a cool or shady place to sit down immediately. Drink cold water or a sports drink with electrolytes, and apply a cool compress to your skin. If your symptoms don’t get better, seek medical care right away as you may be showing signs of heat stroke, which can be life-threatening in seniors if it goes untreated.

4. Try to stay in air-conditioned locations.

Air conditioning is the norm in some locations and a rarity in others. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, identify a few places in your area that do. A friend or family member might have air conditioning, and your local library and community center probably do as well. While you may be used to functioning without AC on a typical day, knowing where to go in the event of an extreme heat wave is vital.

5. Protect your skin from UV rays.

Being exposed to direct sunlight without skin protection can increase your risk of cancer. Whenever you expect to spend time outdoors, apply sunblock generously to avoid sunburns and skin damage. The sun is at its harshest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but you should be careful at all hours. Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes is essential, too, as UV rays can be just as harmful to your eyes as to your skin.

6. Manage your prescriptions carefully.

Although you should always be careful to store and take your prescription medications properly, it may be especially important in the summer. Certain medications cause an increase in sun sensitivity, so you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether or not you need to take extra precautions in the summer.
Some prescriptions need to be stored in a cool, dry location, which could be challenging if you live in a hot and humid climate without AC. If you’re traveling, you also have to make sure that your medication will be safe when stored in your luggage.

7. Wear comfortable shoes.

Seniors are usually most concerned about slipping and falling in the winter due to the snow and ice, but falling during the summer is a risk, too. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure you wear comfortable, sturdy shoes that fit you correctly. This can greatly reduce your risk of tripping or falling on an uneven walkway or on a wet pool deck.

8. Check in on your aging loved ones.

One of the best summer safety tips for seniors is to be in frequent contact with friends or family. If you have an aging loved one, you should check up on them regularly throughout the summer. Make sure their home is cool enough to be comfortable, and encourage them to drink plenty of water and limit their exposure to direct sunlight. During intense heat waves, your senior loved one should have a visitor at least once per day to ensure that they’re safe and healthy.
Safety for seniors is critical in the summer. Older adults are more vulnerable to heat and dehydration, so they often have to take extra precautions to be safe during heatwaves or extreme humidity. Stay hydrated, protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays, and know the signs of heat-related illnesses. Summer can be an excellent time of year for seniors as long as you commit to a safety plan.
Blue Moon Senior Counseling provides mental health services for older adults. You can contact us today to learn more about our practice.

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